The Dhyana Zhi Tshok meditation sanctuary
At a time when rates of stress, anxiety, and depression continue to rise at an alarming rate, there is a pressing need for accessible, secular, mindfulness-based training programs that can be applied by a broad range of individuals in daily life. In this age of globalization and modern development, innumerable beings are drawn to the comforts of materialization where people risk even their lives and health while chasing material goals. However, while very obvious, many fail to notice the nature of fleeting times and the limited time that any living being has and it is most of the time too late when one finally realizes that he or she has wasted so much of the precious time.
Just as Guru Rinpoche, the second Buddha, has kept many appropriate treasures (sacred hidden scriptures) to be revealed and taught in response to the each coming times in future, there is now similar need to rethink the teaching and teaching methods that is most applicable to each generation. Therefore, in our current generation, there is a constant need to innovate and redesign the ancient teaching methods especially geared to fit in with busy schedules and agendas of today’s living environment while preserving the original core message and intent of such teaching and instructions the same.
There is no doubt that Bhutan, among many countries, in the world is most appropriate place where such teachings on mindfulness and meditation could flourish. The country is ruled by a compassionate, far-sighted and benevolent monarch His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck who keeps the happiness and wellbeing of his subjects above everything else and whose desire to pursue a sustainable model termed as “development with values” makes this country even more unique. Therefore, it is not a wonder when Bhutan is recognized as the only carbon-negative country in the world.
Bhutan is a country that is renowned for its beautiful pristine forests, vibrant cultural life and commitment to the holistic development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH). The country provides an ideal setting in which to develop a mindfulness retreat center that is open to all Bhutanese and international guests alike – a place where anybody interested in learning the foundations of mindfulness and meditation can receive accessible and high quality instructions in a practical and easy to understand manner.
To date, although many Bhutanese are culturally exposed to the values and rituals of Buddhism, for most ordinary lay people, there is a lack of accessible and practical instructions in meditation. Particularly for youth, there is a gap to connect with such practices in a way that is straightforward and easy to apply amidst the challenges of everyday life. In addition, for most international visitors to Bhutan, although it is possible to experience the country as a regular tourist, it is not easy to find access to appropriate teachings on meditation or retreats that are geared towards them given the short duration of their stays in Bhutan.
The Dhyana Foundation given the above mentioned background was formed in order to provide most appropriate trainings on mindfulness and meditation in response to desired timeframe of any interested individuals. The Foundation intends to build a mindfulness retreat center at Paro, Bhutan that is designed for on-site meditation programs for both Bhutanese and international participants.
Currently, the following programs are being conceived to be taught at this center once it becomes operational:
- Programs of varying duration (e.g. 1 day workshops to 2 week retreats) will be of designed and offered based on the needs of participants;
- There will be 2 short and medium term courses that will be offered:
Secular shamatha and vipassana programs (geared towards those interested in secular instruction); and
More traditional Buddhist meditation programs (geared towards those interested in more traditional instruction)
- All meditation instruction will be delivered by qualified teachers under the guidance of the Director (Chung Rinpoche)